Having lost four of their last five home games, the Seattle Mariners set out on a short six-game series last Tuesday with a 35-47 record.
The road trip included a stop at their division rival Texas Rangers, who have been battling the Oakland Athletics for the top spot in the AL West and have made a mockery of Seattle when they have come to visit over the last few years, and the Cincinnati Reds, who are right in the middle of a three-team divisional race with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
None of that mattered to the Mariners this week.
A first-inning Nick Franklin homer and a third-inning Justin Smoak bomb (pun intended) provided all the offense needed for starting pitcher Joe Saunders, who hurled seven innings of one-run ball and picked up his seventh win of the season in a 3-1 victory over the Reds. Seattle finished their road trip with a 4-2 mark, taking two of three from both Texas and Cincinnati. It was the first time all year the M’s have won back-to-back road series.
Seattle will look to keep their solid play up Monday at home against the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox. The Mariners will send their ace to the mound as Felix Hernandez will go for his ninth win of the season and look to strengthen his case to start the All-Star Game for the AL while Boston will call on lefty Jon Lester.